Lots of products promise to clear your pipes without having to call a plumber. But even though they contain harsh chemicals, Consumer Reports tests have shown most aren't that effective.
Now Consumer Reports has just tested a mechanical device that attaches to your faucet and uses pressurized water to clean your pipes. It's called Drain FX. It claims it's effective at clearing all kinds of clogs with "no tools, no chemicals, no mess and no need to call the plumber." Besides the $20 version for sinks, Drain-FX has a Plus version for bathtubs and showers. It comes with a 15-foot hose extension and a special valve.
To test how well Drain FX works, Consumer Reports clogged pipes with things like fat, sand and human hair. Drain FX worked pretty well. It cleared everything completely, except it only partially removed the clump of hair.
You do need to have a faucet that has to have a removable aerator, which most do. But if your drain has small openings, you may have to take it apart to get the tube down the drain.
As a comparison, Consumer Reports also tried a $3 traditional plunger. It worked too, but took longer and required more effort.
Drain FX response
Drain FX is made by a company in Toronto and its promoters challenge the way Consumer Reports stuffed a big wad of hair in the drain pipe for their test. Drain FX says there's no actual situation that would have that much hair jammed into your drain that tightly at one time. A spokesman says the company's own demonstration on the Drain FX website clearly shows how a mass of hair can be flushed away by the device.
So far- it seems most customers who've tried Drain FX are leaning in favor of the product- although a couple of users say it either didn't work at all- or is only good for light clogging similar to what could be cleared with a household plunger.
Right now, Drain FX is only available online but the company says it's in talks with Lowe's and The Home Depot with the goal of getting their product in stores nationwide by the end of the year.